Monday, 14 September 2015

Getting to grips with visual data

Over the summer the Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care (CRIPACC) at the University of Hertfordshire hosted five Nuffield Foundation research placement students. Last week Chelsea reflected on her time in CRIPACC (click here to read), and this week Susanna has written a guest blog post about her research placement exploring visual data…

Over my summer holiday, I dedicated four weeks working under the supervision of the Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care (CRIPACC), undertaking a project called ‘Content analysis of user generated images relating to older people and food’. During this placement, I was given a range of data such as images and videos gathered by the participants aged 60 and above. The data were collected from 21 households. The images had to be categorised into main and sub-themes after I’d familiarised myself with the method of content analysis from the books provided for me. For example I decided that photos showing food should have descriptive sub-themes such as healthy, unhealthy, home cooked and takeaway meals. This strategy made the differences amongst the images more evident. One of the aims of this research was to highlight if there were common trends present amongst the data. For instance, themes relating to older people going to bingo and social club gatherings were dominant whilst the theme of ‘grow your own’ fruit and veg was not as popular.


Below is an example of how I categorised one image taken by a participant’s wife (his face is blurred so that he cannot be identified):

My placement begun at 10:00 am and ended officially by 3:00 pm every day. As it was the summer holidays some of my supervisors were away, therefore as well as face to face meetings I could also email or Skype with them to ensure I received good advice to help my understanding of the research.

As a result of this four week placement, I have had the opportunity to improve on my confidence, working with others and as part of a team in a professional setting (as I worked in an office). I also worked alongside experts in their field of work. I have gained valuable insight concerning the field of health research. I was challenged to meet set deadlines as well as working independently to ensure these demands were met to a good quality standard. Moreover, I had the opportunity to speak to both a nutritionist and a dietician who provided me with insightful advice concerning their occupations (as it is a field I am interested in).

Furthermore, I had the opportunity to make new friends, increase my network and gain overall experience working with CRIPACC and the Nuffield Foundation. This experience was such a privilege and a pleasure.

Susanna 



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